MMDA Chairman Tolentino defends his man

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Emeterio Sd. Perez

Emeterio Sd. Perez

HERE is a story that officials of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) may not want to know or read about. Nevertheless, it should be told to remind MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino that it may be time for him to order a lifestyle check on his officials and traffic enforcers who may be living beyond their means.

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Let me share with readers of The Manila Times an old story on corruption that involves the MMDA.

A passenger paid the driver of a public utility vehicle P1. Told that he should pay P1.25, the man said, “Para beinte singko lang….” (For only 25 centavos…) The incomplete sentence triggered the debate with the driver having a slight edge at the end when he said: “Malaki hong bagay ang beinte-singko sentimos. Marami ho akong pamilyang pinakakain.” (Twenty-five centavos mean much to me because I have many families to feed.

At this point, a woman passenger butted in: Kasalanan ba namin kung kayong mga driver maraming asawa?” (Is it our fault that you, drivers, have many wives?)

Then the driver explained: “Oho. Marami ho akong pamilya. Pamilya ho ng pulis at saka MMDA”. (Yes, I am feeding many families, including the families of policemen and MMDA traffic enforcers.)

Of course, the police and the MMDA would not find this story amusing. It is, in fact, insulting to them. But who is to take the blame for the impression that MMDA traffic men are also corrupt?

In fairness to the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the entire MMDA traffic force, most of their men are honest. But the bad eggs among them have contaminated the forces’ reputation that the public would not trust anyone of them anymore.

Recently, Tolentino intervened to defend one of his men. His intervention, which has made it worse for the MMDA men, is the main reason why Due Diligencer deviated from the corporate subject that usually appears in this space. Here is how I look at the incident:

The car owner has now been condemned without trial while the MMDA traffic enforcer has been enjoying the limelight for standing up to him. It seems no one had a first-hand account of the incident but most of the comments posted on Facebook were favorable to the MMDA man.

Even Tolentino has only kind words for his man, who, to him, was only doing his job. Really? How could he then undertake a fair investigation if he had already prejudged the guilt of the other party?

Who between the car owner and the traffic officer was the aggressor and who was the victim has yet to be established, but to the MMDA chief, his officer has been right all along. This shows how powerful the social media is in creating public opinion in anyone’s favor to the point of deciding who is guilty and who is innocent.

Because the car driver owns a Maserati, he must belong to a wealthy family. This is probably the reason why Tolentino went all out for his man, who he felt, needed him most in his encounter with the rich and famous. If he could not reward his man with a salary increase for doing his job, at least he could provide him moral support.

After so much has been ventilated in the media, will Tolentino still investigate what has become a much publicized traffic incident between his man and the car owner? If he does, then he would have a ready conclusion that the Maserati owner is guilty as charged. To Tolentino, there is no need for the other side, who, after all, could afford to hire a lawyer to speak for him while his man has no money to pay for lawyer’s fees.

esdperez@gmail.com

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10 Comments

  1. EMmda’s chairman Tolentino, a few years back sprinkled ‘holy’ water along the length of edsa in his attempt to reduce the number of accidents. No idea whether the trick worked. But traffic accidents still occurred, not only in edsa but other metromanila roads as well. Is the traffic situation in the country beyond mortal man’s ability to manage and solve thus requiring ‘miracles’ and divine intervention? Maybe pope francis can do something about it when he comes to visit the country next year.

  2. I have been driving for the past 23 years and have had several encounters with corrupt ad abusive MMDA personnel and policemen. Let us open our ears and listen also to the story of the other party before we judge.

  3. If Mr. Ingco is the victim here then he should have filed the complaint immediately, I am sure he can afford good lawyers…The problem got worst when he took the MMDA Enforcer’s celfon and hide…I agree that there are corrupt enforcers but there is no justification in hurting them and stealing their phones…

  4. We all know drivers every single day break every single driving law. If you dont know that then you must be confined in a room with no windows television & or any contact with the outside world. So lets say the traffic enforcer had words with this guy, do you think it was because he was driving badly or because he was driving an expensive car. I say im almost certain it was he was driving badly. These rich guys think & always have thought because of how its always been that they are above the law. They know they can pay off a traffic enforcer, some may even think they dont have to pay off a traffic enforcer they can just tell him to go away & he will. Now lets suppose the driver broke the law & now the enforcer wants a bribe, thats no reason to assult him. & if you look at what mmda said he said let them both take a lie detector test together. That doesnt sound biased to me, it sounds very fair, but i bet the masserati driver says ive done nothing wrong why should i take a lie detector test, a little like manny pacquiao in 2009 saying why should i take rbt ive never juiced ever. You make up your own minds i know what i think knowing filipinos & how corrupt they are.

  5. Dear Mr. Perez, Thank you for the fair, factual and unbiased commentary. Like you, from the start I did not believe the news that was aired by Ted Failon and Noli de Castro. Don’t get me wrong, I always listen to them but there are times these people slide on their fairness in broadcasting. but going back to the issue, When I saw the MMDA constable on tv, I don’t believe that he has a broken nose. Because when I saw him on tv it was already after 2 or 3 days and his nose was with a band aid. I have had the experience during my younger days of having a broken nose, I know how much it hurts. You don’t even want to talk or see anybody who will be asking questions because if you answer them, it is very painful. Very hard to breathe.

    In short, I don’t believe the constable a bit. He saw a chance, a Maseratti sportscar, chances are this is not being driven by a driver. Here is my chance to be able to extort money.

    Besides the low salary reason being used as an alibi to the extortion and other shenanigans commited by the police, mmda and other law enforcers, should not be used by their boses because I believe that if you are not happy with your low salary you should not resort to corruption, extortion or selling kakanin in your uniform most specially you should not be wearing your uniform on your day off and be counterflowing on your motorcycle. If the sidewalk vendors are supossedly “not allowed to sell on the sidewalk”, How come this constable is given recognition for selling in the middle of EDSA!!!!

    Look for a new Job that will give you higher salary!!! But since These guys knows that they are not qualified for a job that gives them higher pay, what they will do is complain of low salary.

    • You have also prejudged the constable on his broken nose, without any medical exam, that he is not happy with his salary so he resorts to corruption and extortion. The fact remains that he was physically injured, manhandled and struck on the face. That is not a proper conduct of a motorist confronting an officer of traffic. Besides, you have a car without license plates, so you have no right to complain.

    • Saw a chance to extort money? Hello! Are you living in a dream world? You simply dont mess around with rich people esp when you are a lowly officer! Ang pwede pang mangyari eh saluduhan ng constable yung driver ng mesarati at i-escort pa yung sasakyan nya, hoping na at the end of his “service with a smile” eh bigyan sya ng pagkalaki laking tip!

  6. I have been admiring your columns, every single one of them about corporations and SEC. But in this one, I suspect you missed a fact — there is a video of the incident, isn’t there one? But I could be wrong.

    • Driving a car with no license plate in the streets of Metro Manila knowing that these are traffic enforcers could mean that the driver thinks that he is above the law – “posibleng nakakaangat sa buhay at maraming konsksyon” according to GMA News.

      The driver is presumed guilty by the social media because the video, for one, appears a compelling evidence. But the incident made a big news in the social media because it is between a rich guy oppressing a poor guy caught in a video – a situation that will make it to the headline news here in the Philippines. And these are two different things.

      Adriatico represents the institution that Tolentino is leading and the evidences appears that he could be telling the truth. There’s nothing wrong with it if a guy stands with his man, like in this case because the investigators are cops and not from MMDA, and it is the court who decides who is guilty or not and not Tolentino.